Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has demanded permission to sift you like wheat.

Luke 22: 31


So, why did Jesus tell Peter that he was going to be “sifted” like a cook would a cup of flour? To try to understand this odd statement it helps to know why recipes instruct us to sift the flour that we are using to bake a cake or to make bread. Historically sifting has been used to remove the impurities that got into the flour during milling. These might be bits of the millstone, foreign objects, and pieces of the outer shell of the wheat. Sifting also breaks up the lumps of flour that happen as it is stored and compacts or hardens in an unequal manner. Finally, sifting allows for the even and equal addition of other ingredients that make the recipe work and bring about the delightful flavors intended in the recipe.


Have you ever been at the place in life where the impurities get in the way of enjoying the day? All of us have bits of the process of growing and developing in our faith walks that have fallen into the new flour that God has carefully crafted out of the raw ingredients that we were without Christ. Also, the very fine flour that God intends for us to be often has present some of the foreign objects that sin dropped into it. I have found that my heart and my mind also develop areas of hardness, and I become resistant to allowing God’s truth full access to those areas of my life. So, there are times and situations where my actions and responses to others wind up looking very little like Christ and very much like my old selfish and sinful self.


Just as it was true for Peter and for all of Jesus’ disciples, it will be true for all of us, there will be times when life puts us through the test of trials. There will be parts of our lives and moments in almost every day when our faith, endurance, and trust will be placed under the stressful forces of life in this world. What matters is where we go for the wisdom to handle these situations, who we trust to provide the strength and the endurance to get through them, and what we learn while going through it all. These times of sifting will come for everyone who loves Christ, for Satan does try to defeat us. Yet, Christ uses these times to prepare us to present our world with the gift of His sweet aroma and the rich flavor of Christ’s calling for our lives.